ADR Systems

Neutrals

Hon. Donald J. O’Brien, Jr., (Ret.)

Illinois

Hon. Donald J. O’Brien, Jr., (Ret.) is a skilled mediator and arbitrator with extensive experience in the resolution of personal injury and contract disputes. He has presided over approximately 320 cases that went to verdict before a jury.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Auto Liability
  • Contract
  • Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • 20-year judicial career including serving as Cook County Circuit Court Judge in the Law Division, 2004-2010, 1991-2002 and the Chancery Division, 2002-2004
  • 27-year legal career as principal of O’Brien, Redding & Hyde, arguing and trying cases in both the state and federal courts and at the appellate level in both state and federal courts

Representative Cases

  • Thomas v. Page:  Special assignment to Kane County for trial of defamation case brought by Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court against a local newspaper; resulted in the largest verdict in the history of Kane County at the time
  • In Re Chicago Flood Litigation: Handled all aspects of nine cases, involving approximately 400 claimants; cases involved flooding of underground tunnel due to alleged negligence in driving a piling in the Chicago River, flooding shut down the Central Loop for approximately ten days; cases eventually settled for an amount exceeding $250 million
  • Jean Frigo v. Silver Cross Hospital and Medical Center: Illinois case of first impression involving hospital’s negligent credentialing of doctors; resulted in a multi-million dollar verdict for the plaintiff that was affirmed on appeal
  • Michael Burgus et al. v. Rush Presbyterian St. Lukes: Medical malpractice case involving a psychiatrist negligently treating a patient with multiple personality disorder for six years and was hospitalized for more than two years in Rush’s ten-bed dissociative disorders unit, believing she was in a “satanic cult”; her young children were also hospitalized for three years; plaintiff claimed the unorthodox treatment caused her false beliefs; resulted in a settlement of $10.6 million; the case was featured in national news magazines and an episode of the PBS Documentary series, Frontline, was devoted to the case
  • Levenberg v. McDonnell-Douglas et al.: Consolidated cases brought by family and survivors of United Airlines Flight 232 plane crash against United Airlines, Inc., McDonnell-Douglas Corp., plane manufacturer and General Electric Co., engine maker; tried to a jury, which returned a verdict in the amount of $23 million
  • Clarendon v. Standard Co. et al: Involved the largest fire in the City of Chicago since McCormick Place; alleged that Standard’s fire suppression system was defective, which allowed the fire to spread to adjoining buildings; resulted in a multi-million dollar verdict for the plaintiff

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, International Society of Barristers
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (former member Board of Governors)
  • Member, Society of Trial Lawyers
  • Member, Illinois Defense Counsel
  • Member, Railroad Trial Lawyers Association
  • Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Lecturer, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Lecturer, University of Chicago School of Law
  • Lecturer,  Evidence Issues, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association and Cook County Bar Association
  • Author, numerous articles concerning Supreme Court Rule 213 (Two), final arguments; the Contribution Act, motions in limine; hearsay and its exceptions; Wilson v. Clark and its ramifications; and the Structural Work Act (subsequently repealed)

Education

  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law
  • B.S., B.A., Xavier University

Admissions

  • Illinois State Bar

Judge Burke is an excellent mediator.  He has one of the best demeanors of any judge I have appeared before in court.  He is also one of the most knowledgeable mediators as well.  His background provides him with an innate ability to spot the issues early on.  He works hard to get it done.  I would not hesitate for a second to use him again.

Mark Bazzanella, Esq.Mark Bazzanella Law Offices